Crazy to think the season is half-way over. Maybe it’s even more than that. It seems like just yesterday that we were bundled up and racing in the rain at Montrose. It wasn’t. It was practically just yesterday that we were racing in the rain at Glencoe… or Galena, though. Ah, the good times.
It’s even crazier to think that we haven’t had an update since the Elgin/FRG weekend. That’s probably because we’ve been busy racing, training and group-riding. Probably.
So, you’re wondering how things have been going? Things have been going great.
Glencoe was awesome as always. The odd categories (P/1, 2/3, etc) saw a lot of our riders opt for the Masters races. Rob Kelley was lined up for a great finish, but was hampered somewhat by a last-lap crash. You can watch the race unfold (as well as catch the wreck) right from his handlebars if you want to re-live it.
Mara had the best shot at Glencoe Podium glory as she was doing her best to sit in front of one of the large women’s fields and punish those who dared to follow. Sadly, a couple of incidents caused race stoppages and eventual race cancellation because of time constraints. Hopefully all of the ladies who went down that day have either fully recovered or are on the way to full recovery. We all do this for fun and nobody ever wants to see riders go down, let alone get injured.
Not everybody went to Glencoe, though. The same day was the second-annual Lake Geneva Road Race. A decent contingent of the team headed up to contest various races. Our biggest group was in the Masters 3/4, where Shon Zeller reports as follows:
Lake Geneva was a fun course and we stayed dry. Along with Marc in the P/1/2′s we had three BH’ers in the Masters Cat 3/4, three ( at least) in the Masters Cat 4/5, and John C in the 50+. I can’t speak for the other races, but the 3/4 race was fast and furious for 35 miles.The course was a large rectangle with the east and west legs being the longer. The wind was coming out of the southwest so going west bound for half of the course put the group in the all too familiar position of a few guys getting to hide from the headwind and the rest of the field fighting for a little draft on the edge between asphalt and gravel. Bryan fell victim to the edge with only a few laps to go ending up off the road in the gravel, but staying upright. After getting back on the asphalt and riding back to the field it soon became apparent that his front tire had not survived the off road bit and sadly ended his day.I continued following Scott Bowden’s wheel, which is a great place to be because the guy is a bulldog and never gives an inch. While in the drops coming down the long westbound leg the guy to Scott’s right smacked into him so hard it lifted his rear wheel off the ground and set him back down at about a 15° angle to the direction we were traveling. Scott bounced into the guy next to him and managed to keep it all together. Naturally that rider had to say something to which Bowden answered by calmly explaining that he was hit from the right and that this was in fact a bike race (not the exact the words he used). The two of us continued to stay near the front knowing the last corner before the long (over a 1000 meter) straight away was going to be crazy. Going around the corner we were sitting around 9th and 10th, but being on the outside that ended up being a bit too deep and so the sprint didn’t work out as well as I hoped. Scott got 13th and I finished 15th…..grrrr. All in all a fun day though and great racing with my team mates Bowden and Fuller.
Galena is, of course, a 3 stage omnium. There’s a time trial, a road race, and a crit. We had few, if any, riders contest the entire omnium. We had several go after parts of it. Marc Moeller was one of the riders who went out for the grueling, hilly road race on Saturday. Thankfully he did, as he notched yet another victory for the team. While worth the journey, the trip to the top step of the podium wasn’t easy:
…it was hard, hilly, a bit hotter than it looked, and in the end this is the most honest race I know of because the climbs are so painful that it makes the same withdrawal from everyone. You just follow all the moves try not to be on the front too much and wait it out. Actually was in three different breaks one on each lap most just trying to drop Swims who suffered the most on those climbs, but dang it that guy along with Dave Stone, would time trial their asses back two separate times! I couldn’t believe it…so we are finally just doing that long fast return downhill to Galena, it’s like four miles or so…but its too fast to get away and I knew I could recover on the way down for the sprint. Six man break rolled into town…and those who know the tricky finish will appreciate that little kicker that precedes the final two turns into the finishing straight…if you’re not totally blown you should sprint into that corner, I came from fourth wheel bombed the inside took every ounce of momentum up the hill and got a nice little gap that could not be closed after you make a quick left at the top of the very short hill. I suspect this would work in most situations.Go BIKE HEAVEN!
If you want a true portrayal of how nasty the rain at Galena got, fast forward to about half way-through the Cat 3 race:
If Illinois has an “omnium season” you could say it was the last 3 weeks. Aside from Galena, the similarly tricky Time Trial, Road Race, and Crit in O’Fallon make up the O’Fallon Grand Prix. The most important stage of which, the road race, also doubles as the Illinois State Road Race Championship. You may recall, last year we sorta won a few things down there. We didn’t net any new jerseys this year. That’s completely fine, though- we race bikes because we love racing bikes, not for jerseys or money or free Gu. Nick found himself battling for the championship jersey against nearly 50 of the toughest Cat 3′s in the midwest:
It was hot at the start and sunny. It only got hotter as the race went on. In fact, it got hot enough to soften up the asphalt and gravel was loosened from the road on the last lap and being spit into our faces from the riders in front.45 guys toed the line. Nikki was very adamant about the yellow line rule at the start of the race. A Rhythm rider was relegated to the back after crossing the yellow line within the first 3 miles.The first lap was turtle paced. Jackie (my wife), braved the heat in order to provide Marc and I hand ups during the race, said the first lap took almost an hour. We came through the feed zone and the race pace began to pick up.A group of 4 riders went off the front after the feed zone, including a Burnham rider, but they were caught within a couple of miles. The second lap saw a few attacks, but no one got more than 30 seconds on the field. Burnham, Rhythm, Mesa Cycles, and a team from Indiana all had 3 or more riders in them. They put in some attacks, but the other teams chased them down. It was also apparent that neither of those 4 teams were doing much to try to get a break formed.It was apparent, on lap 3, that it was going to come down to a field sprint. I did what I could to conserve enough energy knowing that my legs could seize up any second from cramping about 10 miles from the finish.At 5k from the finish, we started to come up on dropped riders from other races. After absorbing one of the riders, it nearly took me out as one of the riders in our race clipped my handle bars and I played pinball with him and the rider to my left. Somehow I stayed up.At 2k, we headed in to the last downhill before the final climb. We still picked up riders from previous races. Coming up the final climb, about 5 or 6 riders advanced up the left, over the center line, the moto official didn’t relegate them and they moved back in and that screwed a bunch of people on the left. I moved up the right thinking I had good position at 1k out going up the final climb. As we swung left onto the finishing straight with 500m to go, the entire field ahead of me moved to the right. I got boxed in, but eventually found an opening. I gave everything I had left in the last 200m.I finished 13th. Very pleased with the effort.
Great job to everybody who has been getting out there the last few weeks! This week kicks off the Tour of America’s Dairlyland as the start to a month of the best amateur racing anywhere in the country. We’ll be looking to continue our outstanding season wherever the racing takes us.
Address: 124 West State Street Geneva Il. 60143
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